Murders in Yangon and Mandalay linked to Thwe Thout
Anti-regime forces who killed alleged members of the group last week say they had a hit list of more than 150 intended victims
Attacks targeting supporters of Myanmar’s ousted ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), left at least four people dead in Yangon and Mandalay late last week.
On Thursday, two unidentified gunmen entered a fabric store in Yangon’s Thaketa Township and shot three people at close range. Honey Oo, a 22-year-old physics student, died instantly after being shot twice in the head, sources said.
Her uncle, 40-year-old Ye Naing Aung, later reportedly died of his injuries at a military hospital, while the condition of her mother—who sources did not identify by name—could not be confirmed.
A member of a social welfare group in Thaketa Township told Myanmar Now that the victims were all known to be NLD supporters.
Min Thurein, the information officer for the Eastern Yangon University Student Union, confirmed Honey Oo’s death. He also indicated that Ye Naing Aung appeared to be the primary target of the attack.
“They started shooting at Ye Naing Aung when he came out. When he began to flee in a panic, they proceeded to shoot Honey Oo and her mother,” he said.
Sources also noted that the victims were Muslims and that Ye Naing Aung took part in protests against last year’s coup, which saw the ouster of the country’s elected NLD government.
While no group took responsibility for the attack, it came less than a month after a new pro-junta group calling itself Thwe Thout launched “Operation Red,” a campaign intended to instil terror in opponents of the regime.
Since then, at least 19 murders and abductions have been attributed to the group.
More than half of the victims so far have been in Myanmar’s second-largest city, Mandalay, where two more people were killed on Friday.
Mya Mya and her daughter, Khin San Aye, were found dead in their home in Mandalay’s Chanayethazan Township after being murdered and robbed of jewellery, a motorcycle, and more than 3m kyat ($1,600) in cash, according to sources.
A local resident who did not want to be identified said that Mya Mya, who was in her 60s, and her daughter both had their hands tied behind their backs and had been stabbed repeatedly.
They also had lanyards bearing the Thwe Thout logo around their necks, the source said.
In addition to leaving its calling card, the group also posted a message on its Telegram channel justifying the brutal attack, accusing Mya Mya of funding the anti-junta Myaing People’s Defence Force on a monthly basis.
While this claim could not be confirmed, local residents said that Mya Mya and Khin San Aye were vocal supporters of the NLD.
The body of an alleged Thwe Thout member lies face down on the ground after being killed in an attack by anti-regime forces on May 19 (Supplied)
Meanwhile, on Thursday anti-regime forces in Mandalay Region’s Nyaung-U Township said they attacked a group of Thwe Thout members suspected of plotting more murders.
The assault, which took place in Auk Nyint, a village about 20km northeast of the town of Nyaung-U, targeted the village’s junta-appointed administrator San Shwe and two members of Thwe Thout from Mandalay, as well as other alleged co-conspirators.
Three members of the group were killed and one was injured, according to a statement released on Friday by an alliance of guerrilla groups that took part in the attack.
More than 300 residents of the village were forced to flee after junta troops arrived a few hours later, the resistance forces said.
The statement also claimed that the alleged Thwe Thout members had a list of more than 150 names of individuals who had been singled out for assassination.
The anti-regime groups said they would not release the list, but had informed those named as potential targets.